Thursday, July 12, 2018

Brick Series #8 Completed

15" x 20.5"
Here's my latest addition to the series of mini-quilts I've been making from an c. 1915 top I took apart.


I call the series Bricks because the original top,
was made up of rectangular bricks. My goal was to see how many small quilts I could make out of this one top, with the added goal of incorporating various techniques and styles.




The two previous blogs about the early stages of this one can be found  HERE and  HERE .





I love the finished piece - now that it's done! - but I was not crazy about the process and don't feel the urge to work with English paper piecing hexagons on any larger scale.

By this time my choices were more limited, having fewer and fewer pieces to work with, but that turned out to be a lesson in creativity and letting go of traditional design concepts. I couldn't go to my stash to find "the perfect fabric" to carry out an idea. I had to get the idea from the fabrics available to me. The result is more interesting as a result, I think.




I settled on one large rosette off center and two smaller ones as well as partial rosette in the upper right corner. The rest of the hexagons just got moved around endlessly until I finally stitched them together as background.

A period piece of striped brushed cotton from my friend Dawn became the perfect backing.









I was able to selectively cut two floral hexagons from the only floral print among the many stripes, plaids and dots; this one a centerpiece and the one in the upper right corner -  which had to be pieced to make it large enough.


top before ripping
I debated about using this BIG dot print at all but it demanded inclusion. As you see in the original top, this was the only such piece and only one hexagon could be cut from it.

I used it as a center of the black/grey rosette - at the bottom right. Then, to keep it from shouting,  I added my name and date to that plain white ground and a french knot in the center of that BIG DOT.




When it was all together I removed the papers and appliqued that whole piece onto a reproduction background fabric in the cadet blue of the period. (I've allowed myself to use a repro for a border on one other quilt and on some backings and bindings)

I didn't cut away the excess in the middle of that foundation until the piece was appliqued down. I turned it back for a 1.25"  border, trimmed the excess, folded it under and stitched it to the back.





It seemed only right after all that hand work to hand quilt this one.

I quilted closely around the appliqued piece and 1/4" inside all edges of that hex section. Then I quilted the outer edge to simulate the look of binding.




End wall of 'gallery' of the other seven quilts


I think I have enough scraps to do one more little quilt but I can't find the baggie of the snippets right now ....:) so I can't say when I will get to it. It's not a priority. I've already I've been at this for seven years so what's the rush?


(The first one, Tumbler, completed in 2011!)

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Brick Series #8 - A Long Time Coming!

Hello again dear quilting friends!

(I found this post partially done in Drafts. I've finished the 8th quilt and will post that tomorrow...but this was supposed to come first!)

You are sick of this photo if you've been following me on this project but for any new viewers, this is the original top.

You may recall the story of this  c. 1910 'bricks' top that I bought many years ago.
I decided to take it apart and see how many small quilts I could make out of it. I've written 10+ blogs on this particular project. The first was in May of 2011. (You can find that along the right sidebar by year)

I'd resisted suggestions that I do a hexagon quilt - over papers British style -but I finally decided to challenge myself. I felt it would be a good addition to the series and would use up most of the larger pieces.

I created the paper templates and basted the fabrics over them until I had over 100.Then I began thinking about a layout. I needed a small portable "design wall."
Flannel and batting didn't work because of the paper behind each piece.  I tried double stick tape on a piece of cardboard I got by cutting up a big box. The pieces fell off as I tried to work with them too many times. FRUSTRATION!

As it might be used for display

the sticker on the back
Then I came across something in office supplies. This Tri-Fold cardboard display board looked perfect.

It was just big enough for the size of the piece I'd planned. I used  applique pins to poked the pieces into the cardboard. I was able to move them around, pin still in each one, until I decided on the layout. 
After considerable playing I decided on a layout. Remember, I am using only fabric from the old top. There weren't enough larger pieces left to enable me to be fussy about  color choice.

I used the usual method of putting two hexagons face to face (right sides together) and whipping those edges together.
Then I saw a post by Barbara Brackman suggesting laying pieces side by side, flat, and whipping them together as they lay flat. 
Click here for a YouTube video showing the process.

I tried it. At first it seemed clumsy but I ended up liking it. (I did not use tape or clips...just put the pieces on either my thigh or a pillow to raise it up and ease along matching corner tips as I go.)  


I assembled  it in three sections

This shows all but the last couple of hexies in the bottom section sewn together.

Once the sections were done, all I had left was to sew those two long zigzag seams.

Back of the piece
PS leave papers in until all sides have been sewn
The papers along the outer edges will stay in place for stability until the piece is appliqued to a border

Beginning the zigzag row


13" w x 19" long without borders

Here's the top with those side hexagons roughly basted under to see if I like that look.

I think I do.

I anticipate it will be about 19" x 25."









Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Lone Star Revision Complete


I'm really pleased with the way the c. 1920 lone star in my previous post  (April 2) turned out. (photo is not good....see below for a better idea of the colors)


After getting all the faded wonky prairie points and old binding removed from the edges with my trusty ripper, I decided on a simple finish. I liked the points in some ways but it seemed like too much work for an old, rather worn out piece . . .and they may have stood out as 'new'.
So I squared up the piece and found a nice little printed check in my stash to use for the new binding.




I just love fabric printed on the diagonal...you get the look of a bias trim without having to cut bias strips.



I apply binding by machine on nearly all the quilts I make. I apply it to the back, fold and bring to the front and top-stitch. 


Many quilters I know are reluctant to machine bind. Some just like the process of doing it by hand but others seem to feel it's 'cheating'. 

My collection of vintage quilts indicates that as soon as women had machines, they began both machine quilting and binding by machine. I find it a strong method which looks perfectly fine and which save a LOT of time that can be used for more rewarding work.






I treated a couple of yellowed areas and washed the whole thing in the washer on hand-wash setting. I put it in the dryer on low with a few big terry towels for 10 minutes at a time, checking it and taking it out when still damp. 
Then I laid it out on a large sheet and did a bit of gentle shaping. I put a fan on the floor across the room to aid the finishing of the drying process.Voila!..I think it's adorable. So sweet and soft. 


P.S. I am on a roll!  I also finished #8 of my on-going "Bricks" series of mini-quilts. 
I'll post that in a day or two. Please check back.



Monday, April 2, 2018

Lone Star Project - Just What I Need

59" x 66"
left side points already removed!

Well, I've done it again. I was out on a "Search and Rescue" mission with my gal pals recently. This sweet Lone Star quilt caught my eye.  I turned it every which way but I didn't see a price.
"Would you like me to bring that up front for you?" said the nice man trolling the antique store. They do that to make it easier for you to continue to shop as you accumulate interesting objects that you don't really need. (and deter shop-lifting, I'm sure)

(So you know I bought it or I wouldn't have the picture or be attempting to justify the purchase.)








The full shot doesn't reflect the colors well. Here's a close up for a better idea.

overall pastel feel c. 1920

There was quite a bit of damage on all four sides. I told him I wasn't at all sure I wanted it, but he said it would need to be priced in any case. He said he'd try to reach the seller and have it up front.

When I returned to the front desk they had a price on it. $20. How could I not?



Trusty Clover Ripper




That very evening out came my ripper . . .

This photo is an attempt to show all four edges up close prior to ripping. You can barely see the pink binding at the right edge.


The binding on two ends, one pink, one green, is frayed and worn through. The other two sides are finished with points which were once pink. They were not made with the easy Prairie Point method of today. Instead they are individual triangles, sewn and turned.
 The sizes vary greatly and they've faded in varying degrees, some completely white, from their original pink, probably indicating which side of the bed was closest to the window.
frayed binding



A few days later I had removed all the points and binding.




I love that this quilt is machine quilted. Women used the machine to quilt their quilts as soon as machines became available. Women took pride in owning a machine and wanted to show it off. I've seen examples from the late 1800's are even done in contrasting thread perhaps to be sure it is noticed.

wavy grid edge to edge

 This one is done in a wavy grid. Lack of precision indicates hand guided which I find so much more interesting that the precise, automated look of some "perfect" long-arm examples of today.

I originally thought I would just trim up the edges and re-bind, maybe with a vintage tiny pink check in my stash. But it does look cute with points...doesn't it? I may reconsider. Points on just two sides makes it 'different' -  a bit more fun I think.

Do you wonder why she did that? The extra time it took? Wanting the sides to be featured. Why did she use different colored binding? Did she really not have enough? Or did she want to indicate top and bottom and rotate for even wear? Perhaps she was just a creative spirit.

Why do I love studying and rescuing old quilts almost more than making new quilts with new fabric? I just do!

Please leave a comment (I need to know you're out there) and check back soon to see how I decide to finish the edges. Also, I'll be updating you on my Brick series project with #8 very soon.